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Is it possible to have a single photon ionize an atom of Francium?

  1. Feb 29, 2012 #1
    Is the ionization energy of Francium to high to be achieved with just one photon?

    And another quick question, how hot must the light-emitter get before it begins to emit x-rays, and then how hot for gamma rays?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2012 #2


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    For the first question, ionization depends on the energy of one photon, not the total energy (photoelectric effect) so the answer is yes if the photon energy is high enough.

    I aam not sure what you have in mind for the second question - define light-emitter.
  4. Mar 1, 2012 #3
    So there is no limit to a photon's energy?

    And when I say light emitter, I mean like the equivalent of tungsten in a light bulb. For something to emit x-rays/gamma rays, what temperature must they reach?
  5. Mar 1, 2012 #4
  6. Mar 2, 2012 #5


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    There is no theoretical limit on photon energy - the practical limit is defined by processes which can produce them.

    To get x-rays and gamma rays you need different processes - simply heating things up won't work, since things would melt or vaporize before you got high enough temperature.

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